In my previous blog we have discussed how to take technology into the classroom and also the features of a training solution that can take technology outside the classroom. Here let us look at those features in detail.
Taking Technology OUTSIDE Classrooms
The features of this training solution are as follows:
Byte-size learning modules: Regardless of how you design the course, people can only digest some amount of information. Instead of an hour long course, you may consider 5 ten-minute courses, where you can tackle smaller topics that are easier to process. They’re small, bite-size chunks of the course content. Give them some information and then a quick way for them to apply it. Then space it over time. Spacing the information over a period of time, will help them retain what they’re learning.
On-demand training: If employees get to use the knowledge that they receive through training immediately, chances are that they retain the knowledge longer. Thus, there should be a mechanism where employees can take the training just when they need it. That way, they not only are more enthusiastic about the training program, but also get to apply the knowledge gained to the job – which is the ultimate aim of training anyway! Therefore, training needs to be systematically planned for employees, in such a way that it can be accessed by them as and when they require it, in the format most convenient for employees, at that point of time. An individual should be able to access the course in multiple formats – that is through Smartphones, iPods, tablet PCs or simple PDFs.
When such an option exists, it would be easier for employees to take the courses anytime, anywhere, such as time between meetings, or as he is waiting to board an aircraft or, even on his way to work, if it is made available in the form of podcast! Chances are that the courses receive higher participation, if made available on-demand.
Quick access to resources: Employees need a lot of resources – It could be forms, guides, templates, job aids or product and service information. It is not enough just to host trainings. What is required, is to also make training resources available in a manner that they are linked to the actual trainings. Organizations may have excellent resources, but when these are scattered all over the place, without any direction on when to use what, learners simply don’t make use of these resources. So, it is important to organize these resources carefully, link them to courses, make them available on search, through comprehensive metadata and to have experts recommend them to learners, through related discussions in the community of practice. What is important is making information available in the format that is easily usable for the employee.
Collaborative or informal learning: A lot of learning happens informally within an organization. Providing a platform to enhance and enrich this learning experience can be very fruitful to an organization. Employees encounter interesting experiences, which they can share to enrich each other’s learning experience. They can seek counseling about convincing difficult customers or selling products. Online forums, discussion boards, wikis or blogs could be integrated into the professional learning environment, where employees can interact, collaborate and learn from a larger network of professionals, within the organization.
Organizations such as Intel have created Learning Community of Practice (LCop), wherein professionals across the company, irrespective of their locations can interact, collaborate and provide value-addition to each other, in a dynamic learning environment. It is an ideal learning and training solution for decentralized organizations. Companies can create their own Wikis, blogging pages and Podcasts and solicit employee participation.
Organizations can moderate groups on social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and so on, where informal peer-to-peer interaction takes place. Stimulating questions related to products, customer queries etc. can be posed to make the group lively and interactive. Seeking help through normal channels may be time-consuming and in all probability, a sales person might not even have access to the right person. Having a panel of experts, to answer queries in the learning environment, makes it easy for the sales person to seek help. Such a facility can be easily incorporated into the existing LMS or company intranet.
Virtual classrooms: Virtual classrooms are the quickest way to leverage technology for learning. You don’t need any eLearning courses for this, but just virtual meeting software, such as Adobe Connect. The instructor can schedule a session and have geographically dispersed participants log on. Most universities, both in India and abroad, are beginning to implement this. One of the advantages is that these sessions can be recorded by the virtual meeting software itself and made available to others, who couldn’t attend the live session.
It is very important to plan before designing a training program for them. Training format such as the above, best suits their personalities and will ensure that they are groomed successfully to accept future responsibilities.
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In my last blog, 20 Must Know Acronyms of E-learning – Part 1, we have seen some acronyms that are used in the world of e-learning. In this blog, we will look at some more acronyms.
11. JIT (Just-in-Time): Just-in-time learning systems enable learners to access online learning resources at the point of need. Today, what will you do to find directions to a place or find out the movie that is playing in the theatre close to your home? You just go online for information. To employees, m-learning provides a similar facility to access information pertaining to their jobs at the click of a button.
Training enhances skills and abilities of employees to be aligned to changing business needs. It is well understood that assessments are vital components of e-learning courses. They are a medium to measure training outcomes. Assessments not only strengthen learning but also help evaluate the learner’s comprehension of a course.
It is well-known that assessments are a vital component of an e-learning course. Good assessments play an important role in enhancing the efficacy of the online course by helping evaluate the knowledge gained by the learner and reinforce the learning.
According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 48 million people (1 in 6 Americans) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die each year from foodborne diseases. In order to adhere to food safety regulations, one of our clients came up with a requirement for an e-learning course.
E-learning and m-learning are powerful learning methods; both are dynamic and effective ways to teach people. So then, what are the differences between and e-learning and m-learning methods?
E-learning involves a series of modules with in-depth subject-matter while m-learning involves smaller chunks of information which can be accessed anywhere, anytime. Modules are designed differently, depending on the kind of format used to learn. M-learning breaks the barriers of time and place and provides easy access to courses. E-learning also enables learners to access information anytime, anywhere through a laptop, and a stable environment is needed for the learner to take training.
As a college student, I had an opportunity to read Wings of Fire, the autobiography of the former Indian president, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. The story of the “missile man” who rose to great heights from humble beginnings is truly inspiring.
The sudden demise of this eminent scientist is a great loss to the country and has saddened millions. The life of Dr. Kalam is a testimony to the fact that determination and hard work can overcome the shackles of financial and other constraints.
There were a few letters marked “Never sent. Never signed” that were discovered in Abraham Lincoln’s desk after his death. When he was upset with someone he would write a letter expressing his anger but would refrain from sending it to the intended person. This practice allowed him to vent his anger, yet not allow needless or unpleasant consequences. One of the famous unsent letters was to Gen. George G Meade, who was blamed for letting Robert E Lee escape after Gettysburg. Unfortunately, in today’s age of social media, people have “lost the art of the unsent angry letter” – an expression used in a NY times article by Maria Konnikova.
It is common knowledge that good assessments play a key role in the making of an effective online course. They not only help evaluate the learner’s comprehension of the subject-matter, but also reinforce the learning effectively.
We all know the e-learning industry is full of acronyms. Even the word e-learning itself is the shorthand for electronic learning. As an e-learning professional, it is important to be familiar with various acronyms used in the field of e-learning. Here, I would like to share some acronyms that are commonly used in e-learning.